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Persuasion and influence - how to win people over

Communication is a big part of our lives, but how can we get better at it? David Gillespie recaps a talk he gave to ICAEW.

Recently, I had the pleasure of delivering a talk on influence, persuasion and negotiation at the Great Hall at ICAEW. When Robert Russell asked me to give this talk it occurred to me that we can only influence, persuade and negotiate well if people have bought into us in some way. After all, people buy into people before information, and if we haven’t got that right we stand little or no chance of having the effect we desire.

So, how do we control the way others think and feel about us when we interact with them? Well, it all comes down to one little word – status. The sort of status I am talking about here has nothing to do with power, position, wealth or social standing. It is entirely down to perception. How we perceive people and how they perceive us. And this is physical, vocal and emotional.

If we had a scale of perceptual status from one to 10, one wouldn’t be the worst and 10 wouldn’t be the best. In fact, they are both as bad as each other. One is the timid apology that closes us off from any meaningful communication and 10 is the aloof arrogance that pushes people away. The area of the scale we need to inhabit is in the middle. Living in the five to seven territory allows us to be open, accessible, warm, approachable and strong; all of the qualities people like to associate with.

This is an extract from the Business & Management Magazine, Issue 270, December/January 2018.

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